Athletics

Dina Asher-Smith graduates with 200m world honours

Former kit-carrier Asher-Smith is Britain's first world champ in the event

Jessica Ennis-Hill's heptathlon gold medal on "Super Saturday" at the 2012 Olympics inspired a young kit-carrier that night to pursue her dream of becoming a champion - yesterday morning (Singapore time), it came true for Dina Asher-Smith.

The 23-year-old wrote another page in British athletics history by delivering their first world gold in the 200 metres, as she produced a dominant performance at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, to win in a national record of 21.88 seconds.

Asher-Smith said in the past standing in the Olympic Stadium and watching Ennis-Hill - who was one of three British victors that night, along with Greg Rutherford in the long jump and Mo Farah in the 10,000m - inspired her to want to enjoy similar success.

Thus it gave extra satisfaction for the erudite Asher-Smith - who achieved a history degree while she was also focusing on her athletics career - her first global title comes at the same age as both her British idols Ennis-Hill (2009 world title) and 400m star Christine Ohuruogu (2007 world title).

"It means a lot to be even mentioned in the same sentence," said Asher-Smith.

INSPIRATION

"It is no secret that I admire Jess and Christine immensely.

"What they achieved is an inspiration to me and to other women. Chrissie has even been texting me every day, giving me encouragement."

Asher-Smith has come a long way since she had to be bribed with the offer of an ice cream by her parents - who were in the crowd at the Khalifa Stadium - to keep going in a cross-country race at primary school.

However, she is now seen as a trailblazer for British women in sprinting, though, she liked to see it as a broader picture than that.

Asher-Smith, who also won silver in the 100m on Sunday, said, despite her parents' support, she would dedicate her gold to her coach John Blackie, who was also in the crowd with his wife.

"I know my parents will be frustrated and I apologise," she said bashfully.

"I have known him since I was eight years old.

"Even when I was little and still trying to jump over hurdles and do long jump, he would say please watch yourself, stay fit please do not try them because you can do special things.

"I did not see what he saw. So this medal is for his patience, intelligence and wisdom." - AFP

OTHER SPORTS